Hometown: Worcester, MA until 1991
Home country: USA
Current location: Beirut
Member since: Wed Jan 19, 2005, 04:55 PM
Number of posts: 38,459
Hometown: Worcester, MA until 1991
Home country: USA
Current location: Beirut
Member since: Wed Jan 19, 2005, 04:55 PM
Number of posts: 38,459
Escaped and at large.
We are finally having a serious national debate on gun control, so it is important that we get our terms straight. This is not an argument one way or another, just a list of terms.
automatic, "full auto"
This is a firearm that shoots continuously when the trigger is depressed, one round after another, until the trigger is released or it runs out of ammunition. These are considered "machine guns" under Federal law and highly regulated and almost nonexistent in the civilian market. "Rounds per minute" ratings refer to full auto only. Examples include mounted machine guns, military grade M16s, M4s, AK47s, and submachine guns like the Thompson and Uzi.
This is a firearm that shoots ONCE when the trigger is depressed and then loads the next round automatically. One must depress the trigger for each round fired--no continuous shooting. Examples include most handguns, civilian AR-15s, and AK variants, but also many sporting rifles and pistols. There are a few semi-auto shotguns out there too. "Automatic" in the context of a handgun means "semi-automatic." Many of the lowest cost and most common .22s are semi-auto because their construction is less expensive than bolt or lever actions.
bolt, lever, or pump action
“Action” refers to the way spent cases are ejected and new rounds are loaded. Bolt has a handle at the breech, where the cartridges are loaded near back of the barrel. When moved back by hand, the empty case is ejected. A new case is loaded when one pushes the bolt forward again. With a lever or cowboy style action one uses a lever, usually in the shape of a loop, located behind the trigger for the same purpose. Lever action rifles and shotguns are mechanically complex and expensive. With a pump, it is the same thing except the hand grip is the fore end of the shotgun (usually) or rifle (rarely). It slides forward and backward to change rounds.
handgun or pistol
Any hand-held (no shoulder stock) firearm with a barrel less than 16". Automatic pistols use the recoil of the previous shot to load the next round into the chamber for firing. They feed from a detachable magazine. Revolvers are an older design that includes a chamber for each round in a rotating, metal cylinder. Finger pressure on the trigger advances the next round into firing position. Handguns use pistol ammunition, which is short and blunt, especially for automatics where they must fit in the handle. Example, .38 Sp., .357 mag., .44 mag. for revolvers and .45acp, 9mm para., .40 S&W for auto-loaders.
Technically it is any firearm with grooved channels cut into the inside of the barrel in a spiral pattern to make the bullet spin in flight, including pistols, muskets, cannons, and shotguns. In common parlance, however, and under Federal law, it is a shoulder-mounted firearm that shoots single bullets (not a shotgun) with a barrel greater than 16". Includes military and civilian guns. Proper rifles shoot rifle bullets, which tend to be long and often pointed. Examples include .30-06, .22-250, and .30-30.
A short rifle, some of which shoot pistol ammunition.
The metal tube where bullets are accelerated from expanding gas. Federal classification often depends on the length of the barrel.
The space for the unfired round behind the barrel, ready for shooting.
Under Federal law, it is any firearm capable of automatic fire. Historically, it refers to a mounted firearm capable of automatically shooting rifle bullets or special, large caliber machine gun bullets like .50 BMG. Machine guns are strictly regulated by Federal law and almost no civilians have them.
A hand or shoulder mounted automatic firearm that shoots pistol ammunition. Examples include Thompson (Tommy gun), UZI, and MP5.
A firearm capable of shooting a number of small pellets at once. Pellet size differs among game animals ranging from very small raven pellets to relatively large 0-0 buck pellets or a single slug projectile. Generally, the larger and more dangerous the intended target, the larger and fewer the projectiles will be. Shotguns can be single shot, double shot (2 barrels), pump, lever, or semiautomatic. Shotguns and their ammunition are described in terms of gauge rather than caliber, with the large 12-gauge being the most typical.
A lightweight, high-capacity, short rifle capable of firing either full or semi-auto (select fire) and using shortened rifle ammunition such as 5.56mm, 7.62 Russian, or 7.62 NATO. Examples include the M16, M4, and AK47. Civilian grade (i.e., not as tough as military specifications) semi-auto only versions are NOT assault rifles, even if they look just like their military counterparts.
These are full sized, long rifles that take full-length rifle ammunition. They are rugged for military use and can be bolt action, semi-auto or full auto depending on when they were first issued. The USA’s main battle rifle in W.W.I was the 1903 bolt-action Springfield in .30-06. In W.W.II, it was the semi-auto M-1 Garand Springfield also in .30-06.
This is a term created by legislators and the news media to refer to high-capacity, military-style firearms. As it has no historic meaning, the definition is whatever the legislative authority says it is. Under the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, any semiautomatic firearm with a detachable magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition was an “assault weapon.” It also greatly restricted certain accessories that Members of Congress felt were of military rather than sporting purposes. These included flash-hiders, folding stocks, and bayonets. These rules applied to any firearm regardless of caliber or basic configuration. So a high-capacity AR-15 was not allowed and neither were pistols or .22s with detachable magazines holding more than 10 rounds.
high capacity magazine
This refers to the number of rounds that a detachable magazine can hold. Be aware that not all guns use detachable magazines. There are two ways of defining this term.
The first is to apply an across the board capacity, say ten rounds, to all magazines regardless of model or caliber. Anything in excess of that is high capacity. The 1994 Federal AWB defined any magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds as high capacity and illegal for civilians. So, all auto-pistols, sporting .22s, and Ar15s were limited to 10 rounds.
The other method is to define it from the manufacturer’s perspective. Firearms are designed to hold a certain number of rounds. Those are normal capacity. Magazines that exceed those amounts are high capacity, because they exceed what is normal for that gun. The Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle comes with a 10-round magazine that fits flush with the stock. The rifle was designed around that magazine, which is, therefore, normal for that gun. Ruger also makes a 25-round banana clip for it that sticks out of the stock several inches. It works fine, but it completely changes the ergonomics of the rifle. The 25-rounder is, therefore, high capacity.
Since many pistols are designed to hold in excess of 15 rounds and AR15s typically use 30-round magazines, gun control proponents tend to prefer the across-the-board limit rather than allowing “assault weapons” to continue using their “normal” magazines.
The diameter of either the bullet or the gun barrel expressed as decimal fractions of an inch, .38 sp, .223 Rem, .45 ACP. The letters that follow the number indicate inventing company (.308 Win for Winchester) or some specific characteristic (.357 magnum, meaning large). By convention, .36 caliber bullets are referred to as .38 as in the cases of .38 Special, .38 Super Automatic, or .380acp. If the caliber has a pair of numbers, it refers to year of first production (.30-06 from 1906) or case capacity (.45-70 for 70 grains of black gunpowder). Caliber can also be expressed in millimeters such as 7mm Mauser. If the millimeter caliber has two numbers, the second one is the length of the case. For example 9x19, a.k.a. 9mm parabellum, a.k.a. 9mm Lugar should not be confused with 9x17. Sometimes the same cartridge has inch sizes in the USA and millimeter sizes in Europe, for example .380acp and 9x17, a.k.a. 9mm Kurtz are the same round.
In modern parlance “cartridge” implicitly means “metallic cartridge” and refers to the shell case, primer, smokeless gunpowder, and bullet all as a single unit. Sometimes they are generically called “rounds” as are plain bullets. Primers are either center fire with a priming cap in the center of the base of the casing. Otherwise they are rimfire with the priming material (mercury fulminate) around the rim of the case. Center fire is highly reliable. Rimfire is less so, but inexpensive and is reserved for very small calibers.
The projectile part of the cartridge. They are usually made of lead, though other materials are available, and covered with a copper coating. They come in a variety of shapes for various purposes.
.22LR or just “twenty-two”
0.22 Long Rifle, for rifles and handguns, is the single most common and least expensive cartridge in the world. They consist of a quarter inch wide lead slug, sometimes with a copper coating (not an actual copper jacket) at the end of a ½” copper case. To reduce costs, they are rimfire. They are slow, not powerful, and have limited accuracy. They also have very limited lethality making them unsuitable for most crimes or self defense. One can kill with a .22, but not easily. Due to their low cost, low recoil, and low noise, however, they are a favorite for recreational shooters, Olympic target shooters (the biathalon is .22), juvenile training, and very small game. The vast majority of rimfire ammunition is .22LR (there are some others) and it is its own category of ammunition (handgun, rifle, shotgun, rimfire).
Posted by Deep13 | Mon Dec 24, 2012, 05:28 PM (39 replies)
During the second half of the last century, French philosopher Michel Foucault developed a revolutionary theory of power relationships. Previous theories like Marxism and liberalism describe power as emanating from concentrations of power in the form of economic, social, and political elites. This power descends from the rulers to subjugated classes. Even in the liberal, democratic model, democracy merely serves as a check on power elites. What was different about Foucault was that he understood that centers of power were an illusion. It does not flow from the governing to the governed. Rather it is diffuse and decentralized touching everyone.
"When I think of the mechanics of power, I think of its capillary form of existence, of the extent to which power seeps into the very grain of individuals, reaches right into their bodies, permeates their gestures, their posture, what they say, how they learn to live and work with other people."
(Foucault, interview J.L. Brochier.) Power centers only work because a person’s behavior and thoughts are self-regulating. This is a direct result of the surveillance society. When Foucault spoke of surveillance, he did not mean a passive watching, but surveillance with active supervision. Again, it is important to understand the supervision is largely self-imposed. A person internalizes and naturalizes the values of her or his society and constantly checks her thinking and actions against that standard. This self-regulating behavior touches every aspect of our thoughts, feelings, and actions and informs our feelings on large-scale ideology like patriotism and religion, but also on the most intimate matters such as gender identity.
The cause of self-surveillance is the apprehension of authoritarian surveillance. Foucault illustrates the effect by describing a peculiar prison called the Panopticon. It consisted of a cylindrical arrangement of cells built around a single guard tower. The point is that the prisoners do not know when they are being watched, so they watch themselves and regulate their own behavior. The prison system classifies and compartmentalizes people into narrow categories, but it is not the only institution to do so. Surveillance, classification, compartmentalization, and objectification characterize every institution and aspect of culture and thought. This self-surveillance and regulation is what is meant by “knowledge is power.” The point of all this is that power does not belong to the powerful. It exists in every person in a very real sense. It is important to remember that Foucault presents a postmodern, industrial age phenomenon that has grown out of the classification, surveillance, and compartmentalization of modern life. Foucauldian power relations are not organic to human society generally.
This brings me to my main point. While Foucault was not a revolutionary philosopher like Marx was, his observations point to the vulnerability of the present system. Without the appearance or air of authority, the present power structure simply ceases to exist. The OWS movement implicitly understands this. It is not a revolutionary movement in the conventional sense. It does not seek merely to replace the heads of authority—whether governmental or economical. Rather, it seeks to replace the existing power structure entirely. Do not think of OWS as an interest group or a political party. When it claims to be (rather than to represent) the 99%, it means it literally. The entire 99% may not be on the street protesting and many of them are still stuck in their habits of self-surveillance and conformity. Nevertheless, the advent of instantaneous, decentralized communication has caused the masses to turn the surveillance tables onto the existing power elites.
I realize I am generalizing the OWS movement. Specific individuals want specific things of course and on some details they may even be at cross-purposes. On the large scale, however, OWS represents a genuine, inevitable, and irresistible threat to those who imagine themselves in power. The movement is in its infancy presently, but as the fascist-capitalist system creates more victims out of what was once the middle class, more and more will realize that there is no political remedy. In 2006 and 2008, the electorate demanded changed. Having failed to deliver fundamental change, the electorate again turned to its only option and put the Republicans back office. Now, approval ratings strongly suggest that most people have given up on the present system. Those with a vested interest in the present system—the military/prison/industrial complex—know they have reason to fear. A similar movement brought partial revolution to Egypt and Libya and hopefully will eventually bring down the Syrian dictatorship. Meanwhile, rioting against nationalized debt slavery fills the streets in Europe.
Consider another aspect of how self-surveillance turns the table of knowledge and power on the oppressors. In the 19th century, the white, Christian, heterosexual patriarchy established nuclear family model for the industrial, middle class. Our whole society was build around it: law, economy, church, school all caused people to engage in self-surveillance and self-regulation toward the white, male-dominated, hetero norm. Scientific and medical professionals increasingly classified sexual behavior that deviated from that norm as abnormal and criminal. The classification and compartmentalization of persons turned practices into identity. One went from performing sodomy to being a homosexual; sex went from a verb to a noun. This kind of objectification still exists in the penal system (a criminal, a drug offender, a pedophile) and in the medical system (a diabetic, an amputee, an alcoholic) as if that one aspect of a person defines the whole person.
By turning that knowledge-power around, object groups acquire subjectivity. For examples, gay rights advocates have taken the idea of sexuality as identity to press for civil rights with considerable success. This is despite the logical inconsistency of arguing both that alternative orientations are both atypical and in need of protection and a different kind of normal in need of acceptance. Feminism and gay identity politics is a direct threat to the white, hetero patriarchy and it knows it. The resistance to gay and female rights ought to make that obvious. If subjugated, objectified groups can find subjectivity in their own self-surveillance, what is to stop the rest of us? On a basic, possibly subconscious, level, OWS protesters know this.
There is no leadership, spokespersons, or official demands of OWS for the simple reason that the nation need not define itself in opposition to anything else. By creating demands or selecting leaders, the movement would define itself in opposition to the status quo casting itself as “the other” and apart from what is normal. Further, a specific leadership renders it vulnerable to decapitation by removing that leadership by arrest, death, or bribery. OWS and any larger movement that grows from it ought to continue to avoid that trap by remaining a decentralized movement. The goal of OWS is not to replace the existing power system or to put pressure on liberal or progressive (whatever that might mean) politicians. We are way beyond liberal solutions.
Liberalism holds that one can make improvements to the human condition within the institutional establishment by tweeking the existing system. In this sense, it is a close relative of conservatism, which holds that improvement comes by complying with existing rules. Liberal, representative democracy institutionalizes class conflict to create a struggle of interests within the legal system. In the case of the European power structure (including its settler states like the USA), that balance has been damaged to the point where the laboring classes no longer possess the political resources to exercise political agency. Instead of fixing or overthrowing the current system, OWS seeks an organic replacement. At some point, the movement will simply be the nation and perhaps more than that. After all, we will eventually have to admit that humanity has outgrown its collection of nation states.
During the French revolution, representatives of the third estate declared that they were the nation. That was a preindustrial society before mass communication, so they were being figurative. In our case it is close to literally true. The representatives of the third estate sitting as a committee simply became the national legislature. This is why distinctions between public and private resources or the idea of observing local property regulations is rather silly. OWS is no more trespassing on public land than Washington’s army was trespassing at Valley Forge. If we no longer recognize the authority of the Mayor or government of New York City, for example, then we do not recognize its ability to regular where, when, or how we assemble. It is absurd for us to decry the immorality of laws that allow banks to commit highway robbery while still fretting over camping regulations. It is not so much that the Constitution grants or protects the right to protest. Rather, OWS as the embodiment of the nation need not look to any authority above or outside itself. The fact that OWS is present on Wall Street or some other meeting place is its own justification.
If it seems like people who would ordinarily support the Democrats are skeptical or are unenthusiastic, it is because we know that the political contest is a sideshow. The reason it is “Occupy Wall Street” and not “Occupy the Capitol” is because we know that Washington is a puppet theater and that gambling on change by playing party politics is a sucker’s game. Again, the idea is not simply to replace leaders or to enact specific reforms. OWS seeks to replace the entire political, social, and economic culture with a wider sense of human community. It already conducts itself in that manner. Rather than leaders with the prerogative to make decisions for the group, OWS operates on consensus. It is clear from the past ten or twelve years that there is no political, institutional solution for what ails us. Fortunately, we do not need one.
Posted by Deep13 | Sun Dec 18, 2011, 08:32 PM (35 replies)
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